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Serbia's Jelena Jankovic slips in her quarterfinal match against Russia's Maria Sharapova at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Wednesday June 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Sharapova rallies past Jankovic; Djokovic, Nadal reach French Open semifinals
Tennis » Defending champ loses 1st six games before finding rhythm.
First Published Jun 05 2013 09:09 am • Last Updated Jun 06 2013 12:00 am

Paris • Novak Djokovic advanced Wednesday to the semifinals of the only Grand Slam tournament he has yet to win, beating Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-5 at the French Open.

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The No. 1-ranked Djokovic’s opponent Friday will be seven-time champion Rafael Nadal, who drubbed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic, the winner of six major titles, seeks to become the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

He eased past the 35-year-old Haas, winning 40 of his first 43 service points. Haas found himself on the verge of pulling even at 5-all in the tiebreaker, but Djokovic smacked a backhand winner to end a 24-stroke rally — longest of the match — and won the next point as well for a two-set lead.

Djokovic reached his 12th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. He improved to 33-4 this year.

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Nadal, seeded No. 3, turned in his finest performance of the tournament yet. After dropping the first set in each of the first two rounds, he has won 12 sets in a row, looking better and better at Roland Garros, where he now is 57-1.

Nadal improved to 10-0 against Wawrinka and has won all 22 sets they’ve played. The Spaniard is trying to become the first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam tournament.

Defending champion Maria Sharapova needed a comeback unlike any other in her career to reach the semifinals, rallying past Jelena Jankovic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

It was Sharapova’s first win after losing an opening set 6-0. Her opponent Thursday will be two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who reached her first Roland Garros semifinal by beating Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (3), 6-2.

The No. 2-seeded Sharapova earned her first French Open title a year ago to complete a career Grand Slam. She has won 12 matches in a row at Roland Garros, where her 42-9 record is the best among active women.

"Obviously it only gets tougher from here," Sharapova said, "but I’m really happy I’m at this stage again."

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